Sunday, 24 July 2005

Once again, the onus is on the women

Africa is the continent most affected by HIV/AIDS. Let’s not bother with statistics: the figures are huge. Some of the leaders are in denial: they assert there is no problem in their country. Some of them even deny that the HIV virus causes AIDS. Some of them condone (by not speaking up against them) utterly revolting practices, like that of having sex with an infant (we’re talking a few months old) in order to get cured. Witch doctors are obeyed because they clear the men of all responsibility in the matter.

So, since it’s practically impossible to persuade an African man to have safe sex and use a condom (it’s beneath them, isn’t it?), and it can't be done by force, other strategies have to be employed. In Uganda, for instance, they’re currently giving money to young girls not to have sex. They’re promoting abstinence for women. It might work. One question, though, who are the men going to have sex with, then? And how are they going to be cured of AIDS, since the most favoured remedy is sleeping with a virgin?


Should I slap the ignorant, arrogant, stubborn men? The leaders? What about all of them?

10 comments:

  1. Once again, I have to argue we must slap some of my fellow Americans, who've forced things like the "abstinance programs" down many contries' throats by refusing much needed funding to any organized programs that addresses the need for sex-ed, especially sex-ed that even acknowledges abortion exists. I'd suspect it will be easy to guess at which specific Americans I refer to (they live in a grand old house that's painted white!)

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  2. Yesterday i saw an 18-year-old woman wearing a t-shirt that proclaimed, "I've got the PUSSY, so I make the RULES." Huh. Her first child was taken by Social Services and she's pregnant with a second, fathered by a boyfriend who is now incarcerated on drug charges. Sexual politics or the politics of sexuality - either way, ignorance knows no gender, nationality or creed. i think the hardest SLAP should go to everyone who ignores the plight of the children in this whole mess. They suffer most, and most undeservedly.

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  3. In the particular case of some of the African states vs AIDS/HIV, K, it seems that the West has nothing to do with those policies: they resist any attempt to be properly educated about the matter; they refuse to accept medical advice and anything that might go against their customs. According to some sources, African men use on average 4.7 condoms in their entire life! Hopeless.

    Yes, D, as usual, the children are the ultimate victims: in this case, they're born with the virus and die within a few weeks or months.

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  4. I agree with HRH Red-Queen ;) that people who ignore the plight of children must be slapped the hardest. I also would like to slap all the callous human beings on the planet earth who bring children into this planet without thinking matters through.

    J - I absolutely adore your blog.

    xoxo

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  5. A tiny bright thought to cheer this up - the money being offered to girls in Uganda to refuse sex is not money per se, but payment for college education. So although the women are being dumped with the responsibility, they might also be being given some power too - a new generation of educated women to influence the country? There's something that might backfire on the men!

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  6. Thanks, N! The photos on yours are wonderful. :-)


    Aha, those Ugandan girls are getting paid to study and become useful members of their society. Since they won't be wasting their time having sex all over the place like other students elsewhere in the world, they're bound to succeed. Perhaps it's not such a bad idea after all.

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  7. The issue infuriates me! I am glad that you brought it up. Whenever women do not have a voice in the political system and the customs are used to keep the established framework, such horrid injustices result. Actually, I remember reading someplace that Uganda was the best African case of fighting AIDs (relatively speaking, of course). Educating women seems like the best policy.

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  8. You're right, V, Uganda is the African country that's been the most successful at fighting HIV/AIDS and educating women is very laudable, but the initial idea was still to encourage women to abstain from having sex; using that money for education was a kind of afterthought.

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  9. One of my sister's best friends is from Uganda where I believe the statistics are 1 in every four people are infected with HIV/AIDS. I can't even wrap my head around that number it just breaks my heart.

    Where I live, teen pregancy is and will always be out of control yet the school administration decided to go with an abstinance only program. Where will these kids get their sex education? Not from their parents! Not from the schools! I read that girls ages 15-19 are at the highest risk for contracting gonnerea.

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  10. Teenage pregnancies are very very high in the UK. Some girls see having a baby as a "way out" of their poor circumstances: they get someone who loves them unconditionally; they become "mothers", i.e. acquire a respected status in society; and now that there's no stigma attached to being an unwed mother, they also get financial help from the government. For some it's a win win situation. They don't care if they get an STD on the way.

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